Ossie Davis Funeral Plans

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Funeral services for Ossie Davis, 87, have been confirmed. There will be a visitation on Friday, Feb. 11 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Abyssinian Baptist Church, 132 W. 138th Street, Manhattan. His funeral will be held at noon on Saturday, Feb. 12 at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, Manhattan. Both his visitation and funeral are open to the public. The presiding ministers at  the ecumenical service will be the Reverend James Forbes, pastor of Riverside Church, and the Reverend Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of  Abyssinian Baptist Church, where Davis was a member. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made in Mr. Davis's name to one or more of  the following organizations: Oxfam America, Sudan Crisis Relief Fund, P.O. Box 1211, Albert Lea, Minnesota 56007-1211;  EXCEL Institute, 2266 25th Place, NE, Washington, D.C., 20018 Attn.: George Starke; WBAI Pacifica Radio, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY, 10005 Attn.: Mr. Bernard White; and Today's Students/Tomorrow's Teachers, 3 West Main Street, 2nd Floor, Elmsford, NY 10523 Attn.: Dr. Betty Perkins.

To The Ancestors: 1917-2005. Veteran African-American Actor & Activist Joins the Ancestors Obituary by Kam Williams Ossie Davis, social activist, actor, producer, playwright, director, husband and father, passed away February 4th at the age of 87.

Born Raiford Chathman Davis on December 18th, 1917 in Cogdell, Georgia, he leaves behind his wife of 56 years, actress Ruby Dee, and three children, Guy, Nora, and LaVerne. The unique nickname which followed him throughout life came from a childhood mispronunciation of his mother’s affectionate monicker for her son, his initials, "R.C."

Dividing his time among his commitments to his craft, his family and his people, Ossie enjoyed an enviable career on the stage, in film and on television which spanned more than half a century. With well over a hundred credits on his impressive resume', highlights include his work in such films as The Joe Louis Story (1953), The Emperor Jones (1955), Teacher, Teacher (1969), King (1978), School Daze (1988), Do the Right Thing (1989), Get on the Bus (1996), Doctor Dolittle (1998), Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X (1992), Grumpy Old Men (1993), Miss Evers' Boys (1997).

He also made frequent appearances on TV series, including Cosby, Touched by an Angel, JAG, City of Angels, Car 54, The Fugitive, Bonanza, Night Gallery, Reading Rainbow, and Run for Your Life. Behind the camera, he directed several features, most notably, Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970). He also served as scriptwriter for that flick and for Purlie! (1981) and The Medgar Evers Story (1983). Among his many accolades are an Emmy (for Finding Buck McHenry), a Golden Globe nomination (for The Scalphunters) and a trio of Image Awards (for Promised Land, Do the Right Thing, and City of Angels).

And in 2001, together with his wife, he jointly landed a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. The perpetually-political couple had been blacklisted during the McCarthy Era of the Fifties, labeled as Communist sympathizers for their vocal support of racial equality. Though they may have lost out in terms of roles in Hollywood, to their credit, they never allowrfg themselves to be intimidated by the FBI, CIA or the U.S. government. So, the pair proceeded to participate in many phases of the Civil Rights Movement, picketing, demonstrating and attending the historic March on Washington.

A vigilant voice for justice, Davis, delivered the eulogy at Malcolm X's funeral in 1965. He died of natural causes in his sleep at the Shore Club Hotel in Miami, where he had recently started working on a senior citizen road trip flick entitled Retirement, co-starring Rip Torn, George Segal and Rip Torn. For more news, subscribe to the newsstand issue of The Black Star News by clicking on "subscribe" on the homepage or by calling (212) 481-7745. "Speaking Truth To Empower."

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